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The purple challenge - 1974 Elite 503


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A couple of weeks ago I wrote in the TLF introduction section (you can find some background there if you want http://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/topic/80302-hello-from-sweden-–-1974-elite-503/ ) that I would start my own thread here within a few days. Seems everything regarding my Elite is taking longer than I expect. :ermm:

My plan for the work has only been to pass MOT and take the car back to the road again. I have no intention (at least not currently) to make a body lift. If things go well I also hope to be able to leave the engine and gearbox in the car, at least for now. The chassis is not galvanised - but is in fairly descent condition from what I've been able to see. It would probably not hurt with a respray, but will wait and see. Interior need some attention, at least the driver and passenger seats and the headlining – but it's anyway drivable before that. Hope to be able to get it out and running during summer -16...

Basic stuff that needs to be cared for is naturally renewal of the timing belt and all other belts. There is a leaking cylinder in the rear brakes and the diff pinion seal is also leaking, plus all rubber parts in the suspension are 40 yrs and need replacement – the diff has come out!

The current sad state of the car:

56e82701942d8_amess.jpg.3f029b2a10904ee5

Something is missing! Getting the diff out after 40 yrs was a miserable pain!!! Took me many hours of hard banging under the car... :sofa:

56e827c506133_somethingmissing.jpg.e67cf

Following the plan to focus on getting it back on the road – (don't know what's wrong in my brain...) the first purchase already last autumn was naturally:

56e8280206d18_1stpurchase.thumb.jpg.d9b1

A very early Christmas arrival this year with a box of some more essential parts (I hope):

56e833536b78a_boxofgoods.jpg.a5727e16999

To be continued...

Atb

Per

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Hi Per,

Loving the purple, is it metallic original? I see you have already started your odessy, I hope you enjoy working on the car, expect some difficult moments as you go but just think how cool it will be once you have to thing back on the the road and purring! Good luck and we look forward to seeing your updates. 

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It's great to see another of these fine cars being reconditioned. I buy shiney stuff from time to time too since it keeps your spirits up when things become a slog. Keep up the good work and post regularly and often!

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Welcome to the Forums Per. 

 Love the elite and glad to see they are getting the recognition they deserve these days with lots of people choosing to restore them rather than break them for parts.

 As long as the chassis is decent i think you have made a wise choice to  restrain yourself from removing the body. like you said get it MOTd and enjoy the car and do a rolling restoration. :)

Look forward to your future posts and wish you the best for getting the car back on the road quickly.B-) 

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On 2016-03-15 at 18:49, CharlieCroker said:

Hi Per,

Loving the purple, is it metallic original? I see you have already started your odessy, I hope you enjoy working on the car, expect some difficult moments as you go but just think how cool it will be once you have to thing back on the the road and purring! Good luck and we look forward to seeing your updates. 

Hi Charlie,

Yes, it's metallic and actually I can't find any signs of it being resprayed (for sure not done during my 30 years ownership). But after all these years there are quite a few scratches, etc. Overall the paint is also a bit sad - will see if I'll manage to get some more shine into it, later on. Most of the time I really love the work - but can't deny there have already been quite some moments of different feelings :angry::cry::X 

Thanks for the cheering! Just love the work you are doing with your Red Panther!

 

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On 2016-03-15 at 20:29, mikeeech said:

It's great to see another of these fine cars being reconditioned. I buy shiney stuff from time to time too since it keeps your spirits up when things become a slog. Keep up the good work and post regularly and often!

Hi Mike,

Lovely cars aren't they! I'm hugely admiring the extremely thorough work you are doing with your Elite! Aha, then it seems not only women are into the shining stuff... default_smile.png Thanks - I'll try to do my best but please bear with me for being only a happy amateur regarding both car restorations and interweb posting.

And photographing, and English language, and everything else...:o
 

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21 hours ago, silverfrost said:

Welcome to the Forums Per. 

 Love the elite and glad to see they are getting the recognition they deserve these days with lots of people choosing to restore them rather than break them for parts.

 As long as the chassis is decent i think you have made a wise choice to  restrain yourself from removing the body. like you said get it MOTd and enjoy the car and do a rolling restoration. :)

Look forward to your future posts and wish you the best for getting the car back on the road quickly.B-) 

Thanks Dan!

Agreed!! A bit sad so many of them are already gone but at the same time it's a blessing for the remaining ones, for spares...

I hope so... It's the first time I'm trying to restore a car and with time shortage in everyday life I'm not sure if I have what it takes for doing a full fledged restoration. I'll start this way and if it's getting running again there might be a boost in confidence for a continuation... :)

Thanks again - please keep your fingers crossed for me, everything this far is taking much longer than expected... Hope it won't take another 16 years, instead of the goal of summer -16...:o

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Hi, nice Elite. same year than mine, luckily we have different colors so we are not mixed in Scandinavian roads ;)

Where did you purchase that "World Champpion 1973" plate? Want to buy one!

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27 minutes ago, permelite said:

Thanks Dan!

Agreed!! A bit sad so many of them are already gone but at the same time it's a blessing for the remaining ones, for spares...

I hope so... It's the first time I'm trying to restore a car and with time shortage in everyday life I'm not sure if I have what it takes for doing a full fledged restoration. I'll start this way and if it's getting running again there might be a boost in confidence for a continuation... :)

Thanks again - please keep your fingers crossed for me, everything this far is taking much longer than expected... Hope it won't take another 16 years, instead of the goal of summer -16...:o

Will keep my fingers crossed for you mate, but i am sure you will be fine.  Have a good look round on the mot critical stuff, repair/replace,  and if it does fail the mot get it repair as needed.  Then enjoy the car and then tinker and do the cosmetic things at your leisure. :)

Looking forward to your updates on the car and love the 70s purple its very retro and cool and looks fantastic on the elite.B-)

3 minutes ago, JPohja said:

Hi, nice Elite. same year than mine, luckily we have different colors so we are not mixed in Scandinavian roads ;)

Where did you purchase that "World Champpion 1973" plate? Want to buy one!

I have seen them on ebay from time to time if not try lotusbits.com they may have one ? :)

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19 minutes ago, JPohja said:

Hi, nice Elite. same year than mine, luckily we have different colors so we are not mixed in Scandinavian roads ;)

Where did you purchase that "World Champpion 1973" plate? Want to buy one!

Hi Jukka - thanks! Yes, that's good. :) Might visit Finland with the car if I get it running, probably not this summer though. (My ex-wife is Finnish and and I still regard my ex brother in law as one of my closest friends. Have spent many summers in the "Finnish lake district" outside Kuopio.)

I got the plate from Paul Matty but it was a while ago. They also have excellent parts and price lists that you can print from internet. Just give them a call an ask if they still have the plate (and back plate if you need that one as well) on the shelf: http://www.paulmattysportscars.co.uk/home.aspx (Might be slightly more pricy than Lotusbits and SJS but they have superb service for smaller purchases - arrives within a few days, even to the Nordics :). However, asked them for wheel caps the other week but they didn't have any, even if they had them listed.)

By the way - envy you your fantastic garage, and lovely other cars, and the car lift... I need a bigger garage!!

Don't want to disappoint you but it seems my car is even earlier than your as my number is 74040005C. Did you contact Lotus and know if your is the 14th LHD or if it's the 14th of all? You were asking if your interior is original and I believe so - it's the same in mine. However, the condition of your seems have sustained better than mine. I also think I would prefer your blue colour but as Dan says - the purple is very 70s retro...B-)

Another thing, what do you think of the Nankang tyres you have - are they drivable? Seems there are no "quality-tires" available any longer...

Don't hesitate to let me know if you have your ways to Stockholm - and we might have a chat and a beer?

 

1 hour ago, silverfrost said:

Will keep my fingers crossed for you mate, but i am sure you will be fine.  Have a good look round on the mot critical stuff, repair/replace,  and if it does fail the mot get it repair as needed.  Then enjoy the car and then tinker and do the cosmetic things at your leisure. :)

Looking forward to your updates on the car and love the 70s purple its very retro and cool and looks fantastic on the elite.B-)

Thanks again Dan! :)

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26 minutes ago, permelite said:
26 minutes ago, permelite said:

Hi Jukka - thanks! Yes, that's good. :) Might visit Finland with the car if I get it running, probably not this summer though. (My ex-wife is Finnish and and I still regard my ex brother in law as one of my closest friends. Have spent many summers in the "Finnish lake district" outside Kuopio.)

I got the plate from Paul Matty but it was a while ago. They also have excellent parts and price lists that you can print from internet. Just give them a call an ask if they still have the plate (and back plate if you need that one as well) on the shelf: http://www.paulmattysportscars.co.uk/home.aspx (Might be slightly more pricy than Lotusbits and SJS but they have superb service for smaller purchases - arrives within a few days, even to the Nordics :). However, asked them for wheel caps the other week but they didn't have any, even if they had them listed.)

By the way - envy you your fantastic garage, and lovely other cars, and the car lift... I need a bigger garage!!

Don't want to disappoint you but it seems my car is even earlier than your as my number is 74040005C. Did you contact Lotus and know if your is the 14th LHD or if it's the 14th of all? You were asking if your interior is original and I believe so - it's the same in mine. However, the condition of your seems have sustained better than mine. I also think I would prefer your blue colour but as Dan says - the purple is very 70s retro...B-)

Another thing, what do you think of the Nankang tyres you have - are they drivable? Seems there are no "quality-tires" available any longer...

Don't hesitate to let me know if you have your ways to Stockholm - and we might have a chat and a beer?

Small world! I live next to Turku so if you live in Stockholm it's not so far a way :)  next time I visit Sweden is next Wednesday but just passing Stocholm heading to Nyneshamn (we have our doughter company there). I have planned to do a little road trip next summer with Elite, maybe we can meet then?

Ok, have to make call to Paul Matty. Is it place to ask for seat fabrics?

I heard that mine is 14th over all and not first lhd. Now I know who has first ;). Btw my Elite's first owner was Swedish.

Thank's, I like my cars too :) but don't envy, it's been long way and still is. Just aheading to Retro-Classic.de, hope not to buy anything..

Nankang tyres are bit too modern (hard etc) but steering is good. I have planned to change something more period correct rubber on as soon as I find something.

 

26 minutes ago, permelite said:

 

 

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4 hours ago, JPohja said:

Small world! I live next to Turku so if you live in Stockholm it's not so far a way :)  next time I visit Sweden is next Wednesday but just passing Stocholm heading to Nyneshamn (we have our doughter company there). I have planned to do a little road trip next summer with Elite, maybe we can meet then?

Ok, have to make call to Paul Matty. Is it place to ask for seat fabrics?

I heard that mine is 14th over all and not first lhd. Now I know who has first ;). Btw my Elite's first owner was Swedish.

Thank's, I like my cars too :) but don't envy, it's been long way and still is. Just aheading to Retro-Classic.de, hope not to buy anything..

Nankang tyres are bit too modern (hard etc) but steering is good. I have planned to change something more period correct rubber on as soon as I find something.

Certainly is! Just just a jump over our little pond, up here. :) Wow, that's quick! First guessed you were in the oil and bitumen business but then googled a little and found also dental? Next summer sounds good – hope by then I'm also a little further on the way with my Elite.

Talked with SJS about seat fabric a few weeks ago when ordering headlining. They didn't know it being available anywhere. Instead they recommended to go to leather as the cost for the upholstering labour is anyway the major part of costs. A bit sad as I like the original look – don't know what to do... Doesn't harm asking Paul Matty – please let me know if they know where to find!

Ok, interesting! Might be another lhd before mine anyway – must ask Lotus for the history of mine. Yes, I saw it had a Swedish background in your thread. Do you know if it originally was planned to go to USA, considering the side lights? Do you know which year it came to Finland?

Wow, Retro Classics sounds really nice. You can never get to many cars as long as you can store them! Buy more, more!! :)

Ok – just don't know where to get any others than Nankang and other Asian brands in correct size. Do you know where to search - when you find something, pls let me know.

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Oil, I only hope ;) dental is more like. What's your business?

I just love Elites original interior, designed by Giugiaro. Giugiaro also designed Dinos an Audi Coupes lines. Some how I like his lines :).

It's sad to hear that fabric is not available any more. Red leather can be alternative then.

014C was ordered to Sweden, you have side lights legal that time. As well washers to head lights...it's ordered with strengthen roof because ski ? box. I have parts for that too. And with 180hp engine, I have no factory documents to proof that, only Swedish owners writings. Who knows. It came to Finland 10 years ago. After some Swedish owners.

Got to check Camskill for tyres. They usually have large sortiment.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, JPohja said:

Oil, I only hope ;) dental is more like. What's your business?

I just love Elites original interior, designed by Giugiaro. Giugiaro also designed Dinos an Audi Coupes lines. Some how I like his lines :).

It's sad to hear that fabric is not available any more. Red leather can be alternative then.

014C was ordered to Sweden, you have side lights legal that time. As well washers to head lights...it's ordered with strengthen roof because ski ? box. I have parts for that too. And with 180hp engine, I have no factory documents to proof that, only Swedish owners writings. Who knows. It came to Finland 10 years ago. After some Swedish owners.

Got to check Camskill for tyres. They usually have large sortiment.

I'm working for one of the larger Nordic banks – actually spent a year for them in Helsinki some 15 years ago. :)

Giugiaro is the theme! :)

I thought I'd ask Lotus if they have any records of who produced the fabric at that time and try to dig further that way. Probably just a wishful thinking...

I have headlight washers on mine as well, but no side lights. Interesting with the roof and certainly the 180hp! I have a neighbour who has been active in the Swedish Lotus club for many years. I'll try to remember asking him if he can remember your car from the past...

Do you think Camskill could have other brands than they advertise on their web site? I have four lovely Good Year Eagle GT tyres on the car now (well two of them have only little more left than legal but two looks close to brand new) but they are 25+ years and probably, or rather surely no good idea to drive on...

tyre.jpg.07ddd46cc28bb9be419e0fc2eaa03b0

 

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Have been fiddling with the diff and rear suspension parts in the last days. Everything is stuck sooo bl.dy hard. Expected swapping u-joints in one-two hours... have taken me two full evenings when counting in the cleaning of the shaft parts... And still no paint on them and the new u-joints are not fitted yet.

Concerning the outher shafts, are those painted black from the beginning? It was impossible to judge from mine as they were covered with dirt and under that, only rust... Kind of like them in bare metal after brushing them, but even if the car will never be out on salty winter roads I guess they will go all rust brown after the first rain/moist... Maybe only clearcote them? What do you say - black or clearcote?

56eb373e94df4_shaftparts.jpg.15c0b286b43

The diff is now painted and the inner shafts are back with new bearings and seals and also the leaking pinion seal is replaced. Quite some difference between the old an new seal! The old was close to impossible to get out and had quite a few pieces... The soft part didn't look like rubber, could it have been leather!? :o Green thing is the new one, all other stuff is from the old one!

56eb3756e450e_DIFFPINIONOILSEAL.thumb.jp

What should I do with hubs? Leave them as is in bare alu, or clearcoat? Any advice?

56eb37602e389_cleanhub.thumb.jpg.6822f0f

Hope to get some more work done in the weekend...

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Great work so far,  regarding the shafts i personally would paint them black, the alloy hub housing i would spray paint silver as it does not take long for the alloy to start looking tired again.  

Keep up the great work :)

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19 hours ago, permelite said:

I

Giugiaro is the theme! :)

I thought I'd ask Lotus if they have any records of who produced the fabric at that time and try to dig further that way. Probably just a wishful thinking...

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, silverfrost said:

Great work so far,  regarding the shafts i personally would paint them black, the alloy hub housing i would spray paint silver as it does not take long for the alloy to start looking tired again.  

Keep up the great work :)

Thanks Dan!

I agree and I think the shafts must have been black in original. Silver as in Silverfrost :) is probably the most sensible way to go!

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3 hours ago, mikeeech said:

 

Thanks Mike!

Have just had time to scroll the thread this far but i'm not sure this is what Jukka and I are looking for. Have no pics of my interior but Jukka has some of his and I think ours are the same...

http://harrasteet.1g.fi/kuvat/Lotus+Elite+503+1974/Interior/

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Weekend went very fast with a feeling that I didn't accomplish much with the Elite. However, cleaned and painted quite some stuff. Chassis over/around the diff and rear suspension. Shafts and hub housings painted in line with Dan's advice - thanks Dan! :) Then new brake cylinders and shoes are in place and clearance with the drums are checked:

56f088ac81434_rearbrakes.jpg.c67da47a37f

No pics of the shaft parts yet as I scratched them here and there when I assembled the u-joints and then had to put some  new paint on. Quite a challenge to mount the u-joints... Had bought the less pricey from SJS (as I will not race the car and my cheap side took over) and I must say that they didn't fit too good. Had to skim the back of the needle cups 1-2/10 of a millimetre to be able to get the lock washers (is that correct name?) to jump in position without the joints going very stiff. (No, I haven't pushed any needles into the bottom of the cups :)) Once I had understood what was needed to be done - it went fairly smooth. Plenty of metall in the cups so no problem adjusting them somewhat - but would have been great to know that it might be needed.

Have decided to use the old shocks - Monroe that are at least 30 years old! - Might very well be a mistake but I will give them a chance as I think they look nice...B-) They actually seem to work well and there are no visible sign of any leaks. Will try to find some Monroe blue colour to touch up where the surface rust have been. Nice aren't they?

shocks.jpg.00736d5914d5472e9b5c1f31a0fd6

To be on the safe side I should better put in an order for gas shocks to have them at hand if these are giving in...

Previously I have made myself (almost all of it :lol:) a handy little tool to be able to get the radius arms out. It didn't cost me more than about 11-12£ (149 SEK) at "Biltema" (something like Car theme), more known for beaing cheap than high quality but might not use it more than two times, one when dismantling and one when... Had to grind it a millimeter - who the f..k came up with an idea of having the mount to be 51 mm? Or is that 2"? :blush:

wrench.jpg.46521355d6460ee813aefe67cb9dc

Quite a difference in size to the 1/2" wrench! The ring end is still intact - you never know when you may need a 50! :P

Until next time...

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Well - the challenge continues, had hoped to have the diff back in place today but when looking what have been done the last week I guess I can't be totally dissatisfied anyway... Lots of hours spent on cleaning and painting, in the old fashion way - without sand blasting and powder coating... The hand brake cable is replaced and the three cut cables :o at the hand brake micro switch are soldered together. Might be a working hand brake warning light now - or a short circuit, after that...

Some pictures - be prepared for a loooong movie :sleeping::

After a little mistake where something was forgotten :(:

bad brake pipe.jpg

the diff with new brake pipes and houses (rubber ones, to be on the safe side with the Swedish MOT):

Diff new brake pipes and hoses.jpg

Painted hub housings

Hub housings painted.jpg

and shafts with new u-joints

shafts painted.jpg

and brake drums painted whith heat resistant paint

Brake drums.jpg

Radius arms looked nasty but thanks to anti rust protection, which I guess was made when the car was new - they are in really good condition...

before

radius arm, dirty.jpg

and after (brush painted :blush:) note the plastic plugs for anti rust liquid :)

radius arms.jpg

and further after inspiration from Mikeeech, even if not fully in his high quality - hope it was ok to copy your concept...? The rear seat belt mountings! :)

Polished rear belt mounts.jpg

and put in place

rear belt mounts in place.jpg

Have to polish the exhaust as well :ermm:

Slowly coming together - next step is hopefully to put the diff back in place...

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Awesome work it will look lovely when its all back together, well worth the extra effort and time cleaning and painting, not only looks good but also makes such a difference in the future when working on the car will be nice and tidy rather than grubby. !  p.s you are not the first to forget to put the brake unions on before working the pipe :lol: and i am sure you will not be the last, i have done it loads of times. :blush:

Fantastic effort, any ideas when you will looking at booking the MOT ?  Keep up this  momentum and hopefully not to far away

:)

 

 

 

 

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18 hours ago, permelite said:

after inspiration from Mikeeech, even if not fully in his high quality - hope it was ok to copy your concept...? The rear seat belt mountings! :)

Polished rear belt mounts.jpg

and put in place

rear belt mounts in place.jpg

Have to polish the exhaust as well :ermm:

Slowly coming together - next step is hopefully to put the diff back in place...

I'm humbled by the compliment although it's a slippery slope your on. Your brake pipes are so pretty! Soon you'll be polishing these to a mirror finish and then using laquer to keep them that way! And then it's stainless steel brake fastenings while your at it... Arghh!

Loving the work. Enjoy the journey and the driving in the summer.

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